Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, remembers: “Back then we developed from zero a highly complex hybrid race car on a Formula One level. The early days were extremely demanding, especially as we had to set up the infrastructure, including new buildings, at the same time, plus assembling a team of 260 excellent people. The timing was really tight and the 2014 Le Mans race came way too early for us. But since then, we have managed maximum success. I’m incredibly proud of this team and I hope that we can conclude the era of the Porsche 919 Hybrid with a good race in Bahrain.”
In its final six-hour race, the Porsche 919 Hybrid will once again drive from daylight into the night on Saturday, November 18, in Bahrain. The race will start at 16:00 hrs local time (14:00 CET), sun set is at 16:46 hrs. Unlike at Le Mans, the drivers don’t race only in the tunnel view of the car’s headlights. 5,000 floodlights illuminate the Formula One circuit which allows for worldwide online and TV coverage until the chequered flag.
The Porsche LMP Team before the final race
Team Principal Andreas Seidl: “I feel a big relief the pressure of defending the manufacturers’ and drivers’ world championship titles is resolved before our last race. The emotions of the farewell under the stress of the title battle would have been extremely hard for the team. In Toyota this year, we are facing a competitor who developed an all new car for 2016. We, instead, kept developing our existing car. That we still won Le Mans as well as both championship titles, is thanks to outstanding driver performances, many detailed improvements and the operational strength of our team. Now we have to get ourselves together and focus on this last race. We want to leave the stage not only as world champions but also with a performance that is satisfying for all of us. Six hours of reliability and faultless work are big challenges of men and machine. Safety has the highest priority. Only after the chequered flag can we allow our reflective feelings to break through.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number 1:
Neel Jani (33, Switzerland): “The last race in the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s history will certainly be very special. The end of an era is the prefix for this weekend. At the same time for our car number 1 driver crew, a strong race result is the priority. We will give everything to send off the 919 nicely in to retirement. The circuit should suit us with the high downforce aerodynamic package. It’s an abrasive track for the tyres. It will probably be hot during the day but we drive into the cooler night and therefore have to manage our tyre strategy accordingly.”
André Lotterer (35, Germany): “The entire team will experience a very emotional weekend in Bahrain. I had similar feelings with Audi last year. But I think this time it will be different for the entire paddock because an era of great competition between extremely cool hybrid sports cars is ending. I will try to enjoy every second and take all the memories with me. I want to contribute with a strong performance for a nice farewell. The Bahrain track layout is not one of my favourites, but I still like driving there. The weather usually is nice in the desert. It is a challenging race for the tyres but I think the 919 is a fast, solid car and we have the potential to win there.”
Nick Tandy (33, Great Britain): “I prefer not to think about the farewell yet. The Bahrain race is very interesting anyway because we are racing from day into night. It is normally very hot for the car, the drivers and especially the tyres. It is a challenging race to finish the season at. I haven’t been there since 2015 but I was on the podium back then when I came second in the LMP2 class. So this year’s target is to make it onto the LMP1 podium.”